German automaker Volkswagen is in the middle of a scandal over rigging diesel engine emission tests in America and Europe. Volkswagen admitted recently, after denying for more than a year that it did anything wrong, that it falsified emissions data by installing software to make the vehicles appear cleaner and greener during emissions testing. Once on the road, the cars would pump out as much as 40 times the allowed level of emissions. Some owners are taking matters into their own hands.
Are There Recalls and Penalties?
Volkswagen is preparing to fix approximately 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide in the coming months to correct the problem. The automaker is scheduled to present technical details to regulators this month. About 500,000 diesel engine vehicles are involved in the United States. Models affected in the U.S. include Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat as well as the Audi A3, for various model years since 2009.
U.S. regulators have said the cars are safe to drive, but eventually the cars will need to be repaired so they can pass the emissions test without cheating. Authorities in the European Union have urged national governments to conduct criminal investigations. Volkswagen is also facing severe fines. U.S. authorities could impose billions of dollars in penalties for breaching emission limits.
Why Are Owners Angry?
So, now that Volkswagen has admitted to rigging the emission tests and is preparing to recall and repair the vehicles, where does that leave owners? Well, they are pretty much in limbo, according to experts. While many angry owners are demanding that Volkswagen buy back their diesel-powered vehicles, that doesn’t seem likely to happen. Several class-action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of owners accusing Volkswagen of fraud, false advertising and violating consumer rights.
Vehicle owners, meanwhile, are stuck with these cars. They can’t sell them either. Regulators have given Volkswagen some time to come up with a remedy. Depending on the complexity of the repair and the time needed to get the necessary components, it could take up to one year to develop a recall plan, issue recall notices and conduct the repairs, which according to federal law, should be done free of charge.
What Can Owners Do?
It can be a frustrating time for Volkswagen owners who have been affected by this scandal. What Volkswagen has admitted to doing is absolutely outrageous. So, what can owners do to hold the automaker accountable? Many owners are already taking action by filing class action lawsuits. It is one out of a few options available to owners through the civil legal system. Class action lawsuits can be an effective way for the little guy to stand up and challenge large dishonest corporations. This is the option most consumers who have been duped by Volkswagen are choosing.
If you own one of the Volkswagen models to be included in the recall and have been affected, please contact an experienced class action lawyer who can help fight for your rights and hold the automaker accountable. At d’Oliveira & Associates, we work with experienced class action lawyers who can help you. Call us toll-free at 1-800-992-6878 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.